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Geek Stocking Stuffers

Posted by stevencombs on December 22, 2006

Sean McHose and I review some stocking stuffers for the geek in your life. Guaranteed to put a smile on that gadget freak on your Christmas list. The highlight is the Ninja Remote. Watch the video to learn more

Purchase the Ninja Remote and other items here.

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Share in a Combs holiday tradition

Posted by stevencombs on December 22, 2006

For the past four Christmas Eve’s, my daughter and I have tracked Santa with the help of NORAD. Its fun to see where he is at a given point in time and to hear the updates from the Norad folks. So be sure to join us this year, but remember, you have to be in bed before he reaches your home or he might pass you by!

MERRY CHRISTMAS from Combsing Through the Minutia

Norad Tracks Santa 2006

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PLEO, prepare to be amazed.

Posted by stevencombs on December 20, 2006

The next generation of robotic toy is under development and its name is PLEO. I first became aware of this toy while reading the latest issue of Make Magazine and decided to search for video on YouTube and found this clip. Check it out and you’ll see why I am very excited about this future toy.

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Let Google Earth help you track Santa this Christmas!

Posted by stevencombs on December 20, 2006

Here’s a great application for Google Earth, the free download from Google. Google has created both a game and a Santa tracking system to let all boys and girls find goodies each day leading up to Christmas. It looks like a lot of fun and I’m just sorry that I have posted this a little late for you to enjoy. But go download Google Earth and then visit the link below to play along.

Google Santa Tracker and Toy Hunt

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School District Dropping Macs for More “Appropriate Technology”

Posted by stevencombs on December 19, 2006

If you are a MAC fan, you just have to read this article. Why in the world would an IT guy take away computers that the kids love? And has this guy ever really done a cost justification for such a move? We know that out of the box, the MAC includes all the software a student would need for both work, creative arts and just plain old fun stuff. Not to mention that the usefulness of a MAC seems to have a longer life span than a Windoze machine. Take a read and post your thoughts here.

School District Dropping Macs for More “Appropriate Technology” || The Mac Observer

Posted in Apple, Education | Leave a Comment »

What’s the hottest course on iTunes?

Posted by stevencombs on December 18, 2006

Betcha can’t answer this question. I was shocked, but intrigued. May have to give this one a listen myself.

See the answer and learn more here:
Open Culture: The Hottest Course on iTunes (and the Future of Digital Education)

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Apple Illuminous, meet Gtk+

Posted by stevencombs on December 18, 2006

For lots of my readers out there, this article will make little or no sense. However, if you are a MAC users and use software such as GimP, Open Office, or Inkscape, it simply means that you may no longer need to load X11 and run this software on top of this application layer. This is good news and should make it easier for folks to port software to the MAC. It will also create a unified look so hopefully this software will begin to have a unified look. Sounds like the next version of MAC OS X is going to be a must upgrade. Better start saving your money now.

Read the entire article here: Illuminous, meet Gtk+ – O’Reilly Mac DevCenter Blog

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Let’s get ready to rumble with the Verticon Air Battle Game

Posted by stevencombs on December 17, 2006

Sarah Brownlee and I wage battle against each other in the Verticon Air Battle arenas by Wild Planet. Verticon is a game based on that old Physics experiment where you point a hair-dryer up and then place a ping pong ball in the air stream allow the ping pong ball to hover in mid-air. The difference is that Wild Planet has added weapons to the ping pong ball and some rules for combat making this game VERY enjoyable for all ages.

Purchase Verticon.

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Firefly video game in development

Posted by stevencombs on December 11, 2006

Firefly continues to live! It’s amazing that a show that was canceled after 13 episodes (or was it 12) and spawned a full length feature film that really didn’t do that well at the box office (but was an amazing film none the less) has a fan base that won’t let it die (and that’s good thing folks). I’m not much of a video game player these days, but if the story were intriguing and it continued the storyline, I might just have to take a look at it myself when released. BTW, if you missed Firefly during it’s original run or on Sci Fi, you can purchase the entire series on DVD from Target this week for only $19.00.  That’s a bargain, so run out an get it!

Read article at:
SCI FI Wire | The News Service of the SCI FI Channel

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KEWL Apple App O’ da Day: iPhoto2Gmail

Posted by stevencombs on December 8, 2006

From the site:

An iPhoto (5 & 6) plugin that lets you quickly and easily send
pictures using your gmail account… all without installing or
configuring an e-mail application.

Get it here.

I’ve always loved sending photos to family and friends using iPhoto, but always hated that it would default to my .mac e-mail address. Now I can send through Gmail!

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Where’s my wee Wii

Posted by stevencombs on December 6, 2006

In other Nintendo Wii news, here we have a video that displays the Wii on a small 1inch screen.

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Move your iTunes Music to other devices. You paid for it, why not?

Posted by stevencombs on December 6, 2006

I love iTunes and I think Apple has the best way to purchase music in electronic format available for any device. However, there are times when I want to move that music to another device other than my Mac or iPOD. For instance, my TiVo will allow me to stream music from iTunes, but not my DRM encrusted AAC files. So in order to get them to stream over my home network, I need a way to convert them to MP3. I feel I am entitled under fair use as I DO NOT share my music with others. So I was excited to find the FairGame software.

Download FairGame.

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What do you get when you combine a Wii remote with a Mac?

Posted by stevencombs on December 6, 2006

The DarwiinRemote.


From the site:

  • DarwiinRemote is a tiny software which reads data from and sends data to Nintendo Wii Remote
  • Inputs
  • 3-axis acceleration sensors
  • all buttons except power button on/off
  • Output
    • 4 LEDs
    • Force Feedback
  • DarwiinRemote allows you to control other applications by using Wii Remote
    • but now only supports “AppleRemote” mode…

    And the color of the Wiimote is the perfect compliment to your MAC! Now if I could just find a Wii to purchase to try this out.

    Get DarwiinRemote.

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    Hot on the heels of the last video…

    Posted by stevencombs on December 4, 2006

    Sarah Brownlee and I look at the Cadillac of digital picture frames, the Digital Pacific. This device has an 8×10 electronic display with a beautiful screen and sound capabilities to boot. While cheaper digital picture frames can be had, this one has all the bells and whistles, including sound and wireless support.

    Purchase a Digital Pacific frame.

    Posted in Gadgets | Leave a Comment »

    Cockroach controlled robot

    Posted by stevencombs on December 4, 2006

    A colleague of mine at work sent a link to this video. If you are squeamish and don’t like cockroaches, don’t watch this video. However, if you are fascinated by the blend of robotics and nature you have to check it out.

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    New video of yours truly now online

    Posted by stevencombs on December 3, 2006

    In this edition of inspector gadget, I demonstrate the Xantrex Powerpack 200 Plus. This gadget provides power (both AC and DC), jumper cables, flashlight and an air compressor all in a single package. The perfect addition to your vehicle or home in case of an emergency. During a recent power outage, I plugged a 15w fluorescent bulb (which is the equivalent of a 60w incandescent light) into this baby and we had light in our home for over two-hours.

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    Canola for Nokia 770

    Posted by stevencombs on December 3, 2006

    As my readers and viewers know, I just love the Nokia 770 and a new app was recently released that is makeing me even more fond of this device. The app is know as Canola. Nope, it’s not the oil, but a small application that turns to Nokia 770 into a portable media center that can stream photos, music and video from my iLife applications on my MAC. Not only that, but I can subscribe to photo streams and listen to online radio all from a very familiar and modern looking interface similar to the Front Row. Here’s a video of the application in action:

    If you own a Nokia 770, and if you don’t you should wait until the next version is released (announcement is considered to be immenent), installation instructions can be found at:

    Handful of Nothing » Blog Archive » Here it is! Finally the public repository for Canola

    The installation can be a little tricky and the software is in beta, so prepare for some early difficulties. But the vision is very promising.

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    Naval War College pulls its web site after hacking

    Posted by stevencombs on November 30, 2006

    Now this is bad. If the Navy can’t protect their War College web site, the government is in serious need of some security experts.


    The Chronicle: Wired Campus Blog: Naval War College Pulls Its Web Site After Hacking

    Posted in Education, Web Sites | Leave a Comment »

    Another wonderful BitTorrent download. Makes a great Christmas gift

    Posted by stevencombs on November 29, 2006

    WikipediaDownload the Wikipedia CD distribution and put on a USB drive. Then give to a child. Distribution comprises “over 2500 hand-picked educational articles aimed at helping schools enhance their curriculum.”

    Much better than the Encyclopedia Brittanica at a much better price.

    Wikipedia CD Distributed over BitTorrent at Torrentfreak

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    Can’t afford a PicooZ minature helicopter?

    Posted by stevencombs on November 29, 2006

    Build your own following the directions in this Make article.

    MAKE: Blog: Rubber band powered helicopter made from a business card

    Posted in Projects, Technology | Leave a Comment »